Truly making the customer the center of their universe, HappyMe, the FIRST digital loyalty solution for retail in the region, builds on Géant’s core growth principles: customer focus and innovation. The solution has helped the retail leader adopt an insight–driven approach to serving and rewarding its customers.
Loyalty Programs have long been the staple for Customer Retention. However, as our physical and digital personas collide and boundaries collapse, it has become necessary to invest in technology solutions that can address the needs of this “phygital” world, enabled by automation and data-driven intelligence. Engagement that leverages the power of data is now the key to customer acquisition and retention.
With 35 million sales transactions in a year, Géant is amongst the leading Hypermarket brands in the Middle East and Africa. However, while business was booming, their next strategic step to standout in the ever-evolving retail industry meant a revisiting of their core principle – customer focus.
“Our business has always been hinged on a strong customer focus. For us, the customer always comes first. And all our strategic discussions for the future also came back to the customer, placing him or her at the centre of any growth that we envisioned. So knowing our customers better became the core of our natural evolution to drive our next phase of growth”. – Sajid Azmi, Group Head – IT & eCommerce (Géant, Géant Online)
Know your customer – Serve your customer – Thank your customer
As part of their customer focus, Géant had been toying with the idea of a loyalty program for a while. The aim was to reward and thank its existing customers and additionally engage new ones. However, they did not want to launch a program that did not speak individually to each one of their customers.
Alongside this vision for loyalty was the management team’s curiosity to get answers to critical questions which they felt could guide their future strategy for growth – like the impact of non-availability of products, or service levels, or brand preferences, on customer behaviour. While Géant had been collecting and analysing basic data for a while, they knew they now needed a more drilled down and digitized approach to collecting data such as gender, demographics, shopping preferences and spending behaviour to truly know their customers.
The company’s strategic management team spent several months brainstorming propositions that would help them truly understand their customers – what they want, when they need, and how they need it. Understanding the customer journey included capturing data across the complete purchase lifecycle, starting from decision making to the actual purchase, payment, after sales service and survey feedback, warranties, call centre interaction, social media dialogue and several other physical and digital touch points.
“We have nearly 11000+ transactions in Ibn Battuta alone in a day. If I can’t keep my existing customers happy, what is the point of thinking about the rest of the market? So first we need to keep and retain our market-share by engaging our customers and serving them better. This was our objective”. -Sajid Azmi, Group Head – IT & eCommerce (Géant, Géant Online)
Innovatively engage your customer
The objective was an attractive, simple, unique, and most importantly, useful, loyalty program that could deliver data-driven insights pertaining to customer behavior, which could then be leveraged to build a stronger connect between the brand and its users.
While customer engagement was a natural requirement born of Géant’s core focus on the customer needs, innovation was another objective, being a hallmark of progressive growth within Géant. Their philosophy for innovation was hinged on mobility, primarily to remain ahead of the market and engage effectively with a rapidly digitizing customer base.
Other than the value they hoped to feed back to the customers and the internal strategy teams through the solution, Géant was also clear on its cost objectives. A low cost of maintenance and a manageable total cost of ownership based on an operating expenditure model was also important.
Thus, Géant identified a five-fold objective to its loyalty initiative:
“We have nearly 11000+ transactions in Ibn Battuta alone in a day. If I can’t keep my existing customers happy, what is the point of thinking about the rest of the market? So first we need to keep and retain our market-share by engaging our customers and serving them better. This was our objective”. – Sajid Azmi, Group Head – IT & eCommerce (Géant, Géant Online)
With a clear vision of their objectives, Géant delineated their scope:
“Software is very addictive. You can want to keep on making it more perfect. But it is important to be timely in your approach, which is why we had set clear deadlines for the critical path and identified the priority of what we wanted first, even in terms of data.” – Sajid Azmi, Group Head – IT & eCommerce (Géant, Géant Online)
With parameters and scope defined, Géant went through an exhaustive screening process for the selection of the solution provider for their Loyalty initiative, meeting nearly 11 providers before zooming in on InTWO. Pitted against some of the best names in the ERP and CRM solutions business, InTWO won due to a strong consultative approach, an informed team, a robust solution offering and a flexible ‘can-do’ approach, backed by strong retail domain knowledge. They bought into what we were trying to achieve while too many other providers did not understand what we wanted and were trying to adapt us to their solution.
Key strengths included:
Consequently, Géant teamed with InTWO to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Retail, and Engage365 as an add-on solution.
“So, the decision for Microsoft was already taken. But even within this space, we didn’t want a plug and play solution. So now the question was choosing the right system integrator that could understand our specific unique needs and grow with us and be flexible to work with us on bettering the end solution to suit our requirements. And the team from InTWO exhibited those qualities – that understanding and that flexibility. Plus they were very helpful and proactive in their approach to the solution”. – Sajid Azmi, Group Head – IT & eCommerce (Géant, Géant Online)
Géant’s vision led to the inception of the ‘Happy Me’ App, incorporating an all-in-one virtual shopping assistant. The specialized app harnessed the power of mobility of Géant’s upwardly digital customer base. Happy Me was not aimed at only commercially incentivizing customers but was also a way to make shopping fun, interactive and engaging for them. Customers could have their own personal shopping space, where they could see and avail benefits and offers customized specially for them based on their past purchasing history and buying patterns.
To work in conjunction with the mobile app, Géant got InTWO’s robust Dynamics CRM application in the back-end, to store all customer information including transactions, points earned, vouchers etc., analyse data and provide reports, profile customers, send personalised offers, and do much more. For example, a key feature of the solution, 360 profiling, helped Géant gather customer data, across its whopping 184 nationalities customer base! By generating relevant insights from the same, Géant is able to target its customer base better with customized rewards and promotions that can not only trigger higher sales but also help build credibility and trust. The 360 profiling feature analyses data captured across various touch points, including social listening, to map detailed personas of customer behavior. Capturing data around customer buying patterns also helps Géant plan inventory to optimum levels.
“HappyMe has disrupted the retail customer’s convenience & loyalty perceptions”. – SajidAzmi, Group Head – IT & eCommerce (Géant, Géant Online)
Key Features and Functionalities:
The impact of the Engage 365 & Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution has been far reaching for Géant. From happy customers to motivated employees, from higher sales to higher customer retention, Happy Me has served as a winner all the way. Some highlights include:
“This initiative has been one of the most successful in the company’s history, with even the board applauding its success. What we started as an engagement initiative has now become larger than life! Much more than we had imagined. And it has captured everyone in its excitement – existing customers, new customers, staff, partners, vendors/suppliers”. – Sajid Azmi, Group Head – IT & eCommerce (Géant, Géant Online)
The Happy Me program has already led to many a happy customer for Géant. With 60% of their customers actively using features like Shopping Lists, the information pipeline being created for Géant is massive. As more and more data is gathered, the next step for Géant would be sifting through this data pool for transformative findings and generating actionable insights from those to truly benefit their growing customer base.
Key plans for the way ahead include:
Géant is a chain of supermarkets and a hypermarket that operate in the the UAE. Urban Foods, by Dubai Holdings, owns and operates the Géant brand in UAE. The brand is a part Groupe Casino, a French retailing giant with a turnover in excess of 35 billion euros.
There are currently nine Géant Supermarkets across Dubai and a recently launched Géant Hypermarket at Al Khawaneej Walk. Every Géant store launched by Urban Foods promotes a positive and cohesive community lifestyle through a great in-store shopping experience, while providing an engaging, convenient and educational retail environment to various residential and commercial communities.
With its local supermarkets, the brand’s in-store range reflects the tastes and needs of the community in which they operates. High quality fresh products, a wide range of organic and health products and a wide selection from around the world are the key features of the brand.